Yesterday, BMI and ASCAP met with the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice to hear its proposal regarding our respective consent decrees. After almost three years of deliberation, the DOJ is recommending no changes to the current decrees. In addition, it has determined that the PROs must follow a 100% licensing model, a practice that has never been the industry standard and one that presents numerous challenges for the marketplace. We have informed the DOJ that we are evaluating its proposal and will get back to them in the near term.
We are disappointed with the DOJ’s recommendation, which after years of hard work and discussion brings us no closer to much-needed consent decree reform than when we started. Instead, the DOJ chose to address only the issue of 100% licensing, a concept we never raised and one that the marketplace has worked out on its own over the last half-century. We are surprised that the DOJ feels it needs to restructure a world that is efficient into one that we believe won’t be. We are also extremely disappointed that the DOJ did not take in to account the nearly 13,000 BMI songwriters who strongly voiced their concerns over a shift to a 100% licensing model and the creative and financial impact it would have on their ability to create music.
While we had hoped for a different outcome, we will continue to make every effort to reach a mutually agreeable solution with the DOJ. The DOJ realizes that change of this magnitude is not an easy process and it intends to give the PROs at least a year to work through the challenges presented by its proposal. We will evaluate all of our options consistent with our core mission to protect the value of music and the creative freedom of our songwriters.
President and CEO